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Sunday Qualifying: Team Notes

NEWS STORY
20/03/2005

Minardi

Minardi F1 Team drivers Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers were ranked 19th and 20th at the conclusion of this morning's final qualifying session for the 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix. Both Minardi drivers produced solid runs to back up their Saturday performances, and are looking forward this afternoon to testing themselves for the first time in their racing careers against what is generally regarded as the most physically challenging race on the current Formula One schedule.

Patrick Friesacher: My lap this morning was not as good as yesterday's, as I made several mistakes. The car didn't feel at all bad, though, and I'm looking forward to the race now. I'm happy we haven't got to wait too long before it starts.

Christijan Albers: I was not so happy with my lap time, and we will need to work on the situation for the race, as there was a lot of understeer on that run and we lost time as a result. We will definitely need to make some adjustments.

Sauber

Sauber drivers Felipe Massa and Jacques Villeneuve will start today's PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix from 14th and 16th positions respectively after this morning's final qualifying session.

Jacques Villeneuve: "Considering our position yesterday, we decided just to concentrate on our strategy for second qualifying. We're not very fast, but the key today will be to be there at the end of the race."

Felipe Massa: "I had lots of understeer and was quite slow as a result. I hope we will be better in the race, as tyre degradation and an ongoing reduction in fuel load improve the balance again."

McLaren

West McLaren Mercedes drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya set times of 1:36.644 and 1:36.757 in today's second qualifying session at Sepang. The aggregate times mean that Kimi and Juan Pablo will start today's 56 lap race from sixth and 11th positions respectively. Both drivers completed their first qualifying yesterday with times of 1:32.839 (Kimi) and 1:33.333 (Juan Pablo). Kimi's aggregate time is 3:09.483 whilst Juan Pablo's is 3:10.090. Both qualifying sessions took place in hot and humid conditions.

Kimi Raikkonen: "I'm a little bit disappointed with my qualifying lap today. In contrast to yesterday I experienced some understeer and lost two grid positions. However it's a long and demanding race for both drivers and car, so let's see what happens."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I made a small mistake at the high speed hairpin which cost me about two and half tenths. The second qualifying does reflect the race strategies of the different teams so we will have to wait and see. However even though we lost some positions compared to yesterday I still think we should be in with a good chance in the race."

Ron Dennis: "Hopefully our race result should be some what better than our final qualifying. We believe we have a strong race strategy so let's wait and see."

Norbert Haug: "It will be interesting to see the strategies in the race. We should be in good shape if we compare today's times with what we have experienced in Friday's and Saturday's practice sessions."

BAR

Lucky Strike BAR Honda's Jenson Button will line up on the 5th row of the grid for the start of this afternoon's 56-lap Malaysian Grand Prix having secured the 9th fastest aggregated time after this morning's final qualifying session.

After missing valuable running in yesterday's free practice, Jenson set-up was largely based on the data sourced from Anthony's programme. He encountered some oversteer during his decisive lap but is confident in the car's race pace and his chances of a points finish.

Anthony Davidson embarked on race day with a solid final qualifying lap, which confirmed his confidence in the car's race set-up. His aggregated time puts him on the 8th row of the grid in 15th place.

This was Anthony's first taste of the new final qualifying format and a further day of acclimatisation to the track and weather conditions helped him rise to the challenge. He is feeling comfortable in the car and looking forward to his race debut with the BAR Honda team.

WilliamsF1

Mark Webber will start this afternoon's Malaysian Grand Prix from the second row, having qualified fourth, whereas team-mate Nick Heidfeld will start a few rows behind, having achieved the 10th best aggregate time.

Mark Webber: It's obviously tricky for the drivers to come here and do the best they can on their first lap out with a very different fuel load from yesterday and consequently with a car which is 2 1/2 or even 3 seconds slower. Qualifying in Melbourne was atypical so today's result should reflect more the true situation. I am pleased with my lap time and it will be interesting to see how the race will unfold since, of course, fuel loads are different for everyone.

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